Rocks are everywhere. Smooth rocks, bumpy rocks, big rocks, little rocks.
We don’t think about them much, but rocks can also be a fun learning tool to help your child understand the environment and the world around them.
But even though it’s true that rocks are everywhere, if you’re blind and never stop to pick up a rock, you might miss them! And you could be missing out on so much that rocks have to offer!
National Braille Press carries a really wonderful and whimsical print/braille children’s book called If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian. You might think of rocks as simple, inert and forgettable… but Peggy shows just how magical rocks can really be! You’ve probably heard of skipping rocks, but what about wishing rocks or worry rocks? The accompanying photos are also delightful, but the best part of this book is that it makes you think about rocks in a completely different way. And it makes you want to run outside and find rocks to play with!
Below are some fun (and totally accessible) games you can play with rocks that will give your visually impaired child the opportunity to touch and explore while also learning math, language and other skills.
Collect rocks from your yard or pick up a bag of rocks from your local garden store. Let your child explore the rocks (how they feel and weigh in their hands) then see if they can help you create the braille alphabet with their rocks! You can paste the rocks to heavy card stock (we like bright colors for kids with some vision) or place the rocks in a 6-cup muffin pan. You can also draw large circles with puffy paint on heavy card stock and have your child place the rocks in the circles to form letters. “R” is for ROCKS!
Draw the outline of different shapes on heavy card stock or cardboard then trace the outline with puffy paint so your child can feel the shape. Give them rocks to fill in the space and help them identify each shape.
Rock Sensory Bin from 3 Dinosaurs
This is one of those activities that is super easy to set up and then so hard to leave. Rocks just feel so wonderful in your hands and burying your hands in rocks is an amazing sensory experience. Bring out some toy shovels and pails and you can have fun for hours!
Rock Zen Garden from 3 Dinosaurs
Here’s another take on the rock sensory bin from 3 Dinosaurs (they have some really awesome ideas). Add sand to your bin and place the rocks in the sand. Use a chopstick to create delicate lines in the sand for your very own zen garden.
Rock Cleaning Station from Learn with Play at Home
This is such a fun idea! Using your water table or just some plastic bins you have around the house you can set up a rock cleaning station. You know that rocks are usually hanging out in the dirt, right? Well, don’t you think they’d love a bath? With some cheap bath foam and a spray bottle, your kiddos can help those rocks get clean!
Make Your Own (Exploding) Moon Rocks from Learn∼Play∼Imagine
Yep, you read that right… EXPLODING moon rocks. Follow this recipe to make really neat moon rocks that are cool enough on their own. They feel crumbly and solid at the same time. Now add a little vinegar and POP, they erupt like a volcano!
Make Your Own Rock Candy from Growing a Jeweled Rose
All of this rock business is making me hungry… for candy! Did you know that you can make your own rock candy at home? It does take a few days to let the rocks grow, but this is an easy and educational experiment that ends with tasty results!